How To Install Windows 8 From A USB Stick

Windows 8 Logo   How To Install Windows 8 From A USB StickIf you’re looking to install Windows 8 and your computer doesn’t have a DVD drive, you’re not alone. Whether you have a Windows 8 DVD or a Windows 8 ISO file you’ve downloaded from Microsoft, you can use a free Microsoft tool to copy the Windows 8 installation files to a USB drive and install Windows 8 from the USB drive.

We’ll be using Microsoft’s official “Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool” for this. Don’t let the name deceive you – it’s not just for Windows 7, it also works with Windows 8. You’ll need a USB drive that’s at least 4 GB in size for Windows 8’s installer to fit on it. The contents of the USB drive will be erased by this process, so back up any important files first.

Create a Windows 8 ISO File

To copy Windows 8 to a USB stick, you’ll first need to create an ISO file from the Windows 8 disc. If you already have a Windows 8 ISO file you’ve downloaded from Microsoft, you’re good to go. If not, you can use one of these free applications to create an ISO file. Install the program, insert the Windows 8 disc into a computer’s disc drive, and use the program to create an ISO file from it.

Download & Run Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

You’ll now need to download Microsoft’s free Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Don’t worry about its name – it’ll work with Windows 8.

Launch the tool after installing it and browse to the Windows 8 ISO image you created or downloaded from Microsoft.

windows 8 usb tool select iso image   How To Install Windows 8 From A USB Stick

Select the USB device media type to continue.

windows 7 usb tool select device   How To Install Windows 8 From A USB Stick

Ensure your USB drive is connected to your computer and select it in the list. Remember, the USB drive must have at least 4 GB of free space and its contents will be erased.

copy windows 8 to usb   How To Install Windows 8 From A USB Stick

The tool will now format your USB drive, make it bootable, and copy the Windows 8 installer files to it. This will take several minutes. You’ll see the message “Backup completed” when the tool is finished.

windows 8 bootable usb created   How To Install Windows 8 From A USB Stick

Install Windows 8

You can now install Windows 8 from the USB drive. If you want to install Windows 8 on a computer that currently has Windows on it, you can insert the USB drive into the computer, browse to the USB drive in Windows Explorer, and launch the setup.exe program on it. This will start the installation process. If you have Windows 7 installed, you can opt to perform an upgrade instead of a clean reinstall that deletes all your files.

install windows 8 from setup exe   How To Install Windows 8 From A USB Stick

If you have a computer without Windows installed on it, you’ll need to boot the computer from the USB drive. Insert the USB drive into your computer, then restart it. It should automatically boot from the USB drive, starting the Windows 8 installation process.

If this doesn’t happen automatically, you’ll need to change the boot order in your BIOS. Press the key that appears when you turn your computer on (often Delete or F2), locate the Boot Order section in your BIOS, and increase the priority of your USB drive so that the computer will try to boot from the USB drive. Save your settings and exit the BIOS after changing this option. For more detailed instructions on accessing your BIOS and changing the boot order, consult your computer’s manual (or your motherboard’s manual, if you built your own computer). Different computers use different BIOSes that have different interfaces and require different key presses to open.

After going through this process, you’ll be able to install Windows 8 from a USB drive just as you could from a DVD – the USB drive will behave exactly like an installer DVD and offer the usual upgrade and clean install options. You can insert the drive into any computer and use it to install Windows 8. It would be convenient if Microsoft offered better support for this and didn’t require that we download a tool designed for Windows 7, but the process is fairly easy.

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Siddhant Chaurasia

Wow now I dont have to waste money on buying a cd

Dino Pearsons

People keep asking me this. Now I can point them to this article. Thanks for that. :)


It would be nice if we can run the Windows 8 OS from the USB itself (may be a USB with a bigger capacity instead of the 4GB) instead of installing it on the PC’s hard disk.

Chris Hoffman

Hopefully that will work. Microsoft officially supports this with the Windows To Go feature, but that’s only for Windows 8 Enterprise.

Himanshu Singla

There is an other alternative without this tool.

Chris Hoffman

What’s the alternative?

Anandu B Ajith

Getting A Windows 8 ISO How Any Download Links
Giveaway Of Windows 8 Product Keys

Chris Hoffman

Well, if you buy Windows from Microsoft, you can get an ISO from them.


I have a macbook air, I tried to look for an iso from microsoft and couldn’t find it. All there is is a an upgrade software and I don’t have any other copy of windows.

Boni Oloff

Great tut, now everybody can install in their netbook.

Chris Hoffman

Ultrabooks and even some new desktops are coming without optical disc drives, too! It’s only a matter of time before they’re extinct like floppy disk drives.

Boni Oloff

Yap, many new technology seems will make CD drive useless.. Like internet where we can get content just with music store, app store, etc.. :)

Prateek Kumar Rajput

Or alternately, try the Windows To Go feature..

Chris Hoffman

Sadly, this only works on Windows 8 Enterprise.

salim benhouhou

awesome article thank you Chris

Malkhaz Abuladze

thanks for info. Really very useful for me


Also u can do the same from GNU/Linux with dd comand:

dd if=/path/to/image.iso of=/dev/sdb

Or better, get rid off that nasty system and move to GNU/Linux

Douglas Mutay

Very usefull. Didn’t know it could work with Win 8 as well. Thanks

Mark Silos

How about multi-installer??


hi,,,,,can it be used to install windows on a macbook air

Raj Sarkar

Thanks for this great article! :D


Installing from a bootable DVD or USB to virgin disk. Apart from entering the win8pro key id when requested, is there anything else that will stop doing this clean install of win8Pro Upgrade? IE this is the way to create a clean install of Win8Pro Upgrade.

I thought the destination partition had to have XP SP3, Vista or W7?

Chris Hoffman

I don’t think anything will stop you, as far as I know.

Alex Perkins

Yay, can finally get round to putting Windows 8 on the netbook. Thanks.

Martynas Vareikis

I Use WinUSB for that.

Yudono Ra

neat tricks, eventough i’m not migrating to Win 8 anytime soon :)

Jeremiah Iliffe

This will be really useful with all the ultrabooks


great article its just answer all my question:-)


Hi. Thanks for this guide, but I always come up with the message “Files copied successfully. However, we were unable to run bootsect to make the USB device bootable” I tried different USB sticks, but the same thing happens. Do you have an idea why?


Never mind. I tried it with my other laptop and it worked. Thanks for this guide! Installing from a USB device is way faster than installing from a DVD.


Hi Chris

thanks for this Tuto, really useful indeed. It does’nt seems to me that we have choice of partition.I want to install Win 8 in dual boot with Win 7 (C: partition) having a free 7 Go partition (D:).

thanks in advance for yout help


Suvadeep Paul

Helpful topic..


Im having a problem here , i bought new computer for about 1500 euros with no windows 8. i have USB drive and windows 8 on it. When i turn on compuier my display doesnt turn on so i cant see any button for goin into windows, How the hell am i supposed to install windows 8 on my new computer , it doesnt want to automatically install it on.Please help.


thax sweet heart!!!!!! :*